Patara Ancient City and Patara Beach: Capital of Lycia

The ancient city of Patara was one of the six cities with three voting rights in antiquity. It was an ancient city important enough to be mentioned in the Lycian civilization. Patara Ancient City, founded in the 8th century BC with the name Pttara, is built on a very large area.

Patara Ancient City is an important city and an important port city at the same time. Everyone wants to capture this place. Alexander acted first and besieged this place. During the Roman period, it was the capital of Lycia and Pamphilia. Think about this capital, think about what it means to be the capital of civilizations while visiting.

Rome was using Patara as a naval base. The city, which continued its development during the Byzantine period, was considered important by the Orthodox because Saint Methodius, the first bishop of Lycia, died here, and by Christians because Saint Nicholas, known as Santa Claus, was from Patara.

Patara Antik Kenti Gorulecek Yerler
Patara Antik Kenti Odeon Yazitlari

Patara harbor was of great importance in the development of the ancient city of Patara. Because Patara harbor was used as a warehouse.

One of the 3 grain warehouses called Granarium in the Mediterranean was in Patara. As time came and went, Patara harbor started to get sandy and filled with sand. The ships that traded by docking in Patara harbor started to have difficulty docking because their bottoms touched the sand over time.

The filling of the harbor with sand was the beginning of the end for the ancient city of Patara and the city began to lose its importance over time.

Over time, the ancient city was covered by the sands brought by the Eşen Stream and the wind and started to lose itself. Since 1988, the city has been unearthed as a result of archaeological excavations and is now open to visitors.

When you enter Patara Ancient City, we first come across Tepecik Cemetery, the necropolis of the ancient period. When you pass the cemetery, you come across a building which is the only basilica of Patara. It is one of the earliest and largest basilicas of Lycia with 61×32 meters dimensions.

One of the most important surviving structures of the city is the Modestus Triumphal Arch honoring Mettius Modestus and his family. This 19×10 meter triumphal arch was built during the reign of Roman Emperor Trajan. We see this kind of triumphal arch a lot in the Roman tradition. The most famous is the Triumphal Arch of Constantine in the square next to the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

Patara Antik Kenti Mettius Modestus Zafer Taki
Triumphal Arch of Mettius Modestus
Patara Antik Kenti Mettius Modestus Zafer Taki Yapisi
Roman Triumphal Arch

After passing the ruins of the baths and a few buildings that have not survived to the present day, we see the parliament building (bouleuterion) and the ancient theater on the right.

We park our car in a suitable place and walk towards it. First we come across the Assembly Building of the Lycian Union. As we mentioned, Patara was the most important of the six cities with three votes in the Lycian Union.

For this reason, the state elders would gather here and hold their meetings in this assembly building. The assembly building with 21 seating rows had a capacity of 1400 people. During your visit, you will see that the Bouleuterion / Odeon building has been restored.

The building, which was restored by the Turkish Grand National Assembly, was mentioned by the French intellectual Montesquieu in his work The Spirit of the Laws that the most perfect form of Lycian government was practiced here.

Patara Antik Kenti Likya Meclis Binasi Odeon
Patara Ancient City Parliament Building
Patara Antik Kenti Tiyatrosu
Patara Ancient City Theater

To the south of the parliament building is the theater. The theater, which can seat about 6000 people, naturally looks ruined after the parliament building. The theater, where gladiator and wild animal fights were held during the Roman period, is the last work we will see on our ancient tour.

Patara Antik Kenti Kalintilari
Ruins of Patara Ancient City
Patara Antik Kenti Sutunlu Cadde
Patara Colonnaded Street

You can see the oldest lighthouse in history 650 meters west of the agora next to the parliament building as an alignment before going to Patara Beach. Nero Lighthouse, built in the 60s AD, was unearthed from under the sands in 2005 as a result of excavations.

What are the entrance fee and visiting hours of Patara Ancient City?

Entrance to Patara Ruins, where Patara Ancient City and Patara Beach are located, is paid. It can be visited every day of the week between 08:00 – 19:00 in summer and 08:00 – 17:00 in winter. If you have a Müzekart, you can enter for free. When you enter, you can also benefit from Patara Beach beyond the ancient city.

Where is Patara Ancient City and how to get there?

Patara is a city in Kas district. The part from the center of Gelemiş Village to the sea is Patara Ancient City. There are regular flights to Patara Ancient City and Patara Beach from Kaş and Fethiye every day.

Patara Beach

Patara Beach is on the sea side of the ancient city of Patara. In the past, this area was used as a harbor where Patara operated its ships and provided sea trade.

Patara harbor has been under the sand for centuries with the sand grains brought by the wind and the Eşen Stream, the ships could not dock, and therefore this city, which lived by sea trade, began to lose its importance.

What are the features of Patara Beach?

Patara Beach is one of the longest beaches in Turkey with a length of 12 km. The width of the beach is also quite large. So much so that, especially in hot weather, if you don’t walk on the wooden platforms and walk on the sand, not only barefoot, but also with shoes on, the heat gets on your feet, and then you have to bounce like a gazelle.

Patara Beach is a breeding ground for loggerhead turtles. They come here regularly and lay their eggs. For this reason, it is of particular importance that the beach is under protection.

Patara Plaji Gorulecek Yerler
Patara Plaji Nasil Gidilir

Patara Beach is not a very preferred beach. First of all, the entrance is paid and it is difficult to get here without a car. Besides, I cannot say that the quality of the sea is good.

I don’t know if there is anyone who likes the sea that is muddy and underwater cannot be seen because of the waves here, especially after seeing the magnificent and clear sea in Kaş. Even after a week when we entered the sea here, I’m sure the sand came out from everywhere.

We put our feet in and decided not to enter. Patara Beach is the first point in Antalya where this kind of sandy sea starts towards the west. The closest place to the east of Patara is Kalkan and the beach there was also made of fine pebbles. Patara’s sea is quite shallow, as they say it doesn’t get deeper and deeper.

If you want to pitch a tent close to Patara Beach, take a walk around Gelemiş Village, which you see before entering Patara Ancient City. Patara stop of Lycian travelers is this region. Medusa Camping and Camel Camping are places where you can pitch a tent and stay in Patara.

Kas Patara Plaji Ozellikleri
Patara Beach

Despite all this, the hot sands are a blessing for sand curing. The boundless sands resemble a desert. Since this region resembles a desert, it has been the place where desert scenes of many movies were shot.

What are Patara Beach entrance fee and visiting hours?

The entrance to Patara Ruins, where Patara Ancient City and Patara Beach are located, is paid. It can be visited every day of the week between 08:00 – 19:00 in summer and 08:00 – 17:00 in winter. If you have a Müzekart, you can enter for free. There are paid showers and toilets on the beach.

Where is Patara Beach and how to get there?

To reach Patara Beach, you must first enter the ancient city of Patara after Gelemiş Village. Passing Patara Ancient City and reaching the beach is 2 km from the entrance of the ancient city. There are parking areas where you can park for free on the beach.

After parking, you walk to the beach for about 10 minutes. From Patara Beach, you can take the minibuses from Kalkan and Kaputaş to Kaş or Fethiye. You can also use the same minibuses to come to Patara Beach.